Conservation: Species interactions and biodiversity

Sumatran Tiger – a critically endangered species (Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash)

Hey you guys!

Right now I’m participating in a summer school held by University of Gothenburg. Everything is held online and I am participating in their “Biodiversity in Western Sweden” program. It’s my second week now and I learn a lot (and have so much fun, of course!). I just wanna share a little bit of what I learned in the class because I find it very interesting. It is about how the species itself contribute to the biodiversity.

Disclaimer: I am a layman in this topic so please dont refer to my post as your sole source of information. This is solely information and take away that I get from my class. Please do your own research as well 🙂

Okay so first of all, when you think of conservation, what is the first word that came up in your mind?

So during our second discussion session, the lecturers asked us that. Well, as you can see the picture that I used, Sumatran Tiger is the first thing that came up in my mind. Why? Simple. I like cats (big cats are included of course) and I donated for Sumatran Tiger conservation before. Mostly, when we talked about conservation what we have in mind is big mammals or endangered species or those that often appear in the media such as panda, elephants and orang utan.

But have you ever thought about the so-called common species?

For our discussion, we had to read this paper: A case for conserving common species (Frimpong, 2018). This paper elaborate how we overlook common species and interaction between this common species and other species. An example from Frimpong (2018) is the nest construction of bluehead chub, Nocomis leptocephalus. Apparently, the nesting activity done by this species attracts and benefits other species such as rosyside dace (Clinostomus funduloides), blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus), rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) and so on. However, according to Frimpong (2018), the aquatic strategy in freshwater realm on understanding the importance of positive interdependence among species is not widely known. In addition, conservation of mutualism has become vital as many rare species rely on positive interaction with common species.

There is also lectures and other discussions that we had regarding how birds and big mammals distribute seeds in the region, which I find really fascinating. For example, bigger birds able to bring bigger seeds compared to smaller birds so they can shift vegetation composition in their region. The same case also applied to big mammals. An example from Macdonald et al. (2013) is Rhinos’ feeding behaviour that shift vegetation composition and structure. The fruit removal and seed dispersal by greater one-horned rhinoceros could shift tall grasslands to riverine forest by manuring the seeds of the shade-intolerant common tree Trewia nudiflora into grassland latrines. These latrines become outposts of woody vegetation in a sea of elephant grass. And without the annual mortality of Trewia seedlings by monsoon floods and annual-unpredictable fires, rhino mediated seed dispersal could lead to the succession from grassland to woodland and forest within decades.

Another interesting species interactions that we learned is the re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, USA. By influencing the distribution and behaviour of herbivores (the risk of predation influences the spatial distribution and habitat selection also their vigilance), the wolves change the ecosystem in the national park. So, previously they were gone from the park for around 70 years. Because there’s nothing to hunt the deers, their population piled up and they reduced the amount of vegetation in the park. Because of the wolves, the deers’ behaviour changed ie, avoiding certain parts of the park. Then, the areas that they avoided regenerate, means the park had more vegetation. This attracts other species such as birds and beavers. The beavers then built dams, which provided habitat for other species such as otters, reptiles, ducks. Interestingly, the wolves also changed the river due to the regenerating forest and vegetation.

I used to think conservation and biodiversity are basically endangered species, big-overly discussed in media kind of species and species richness. I wont lie, I mostly focus only on animals and never really think about plants and fungi (until this class!). Apparently there are so much more than that! What’s really interesting and often forgettable is that:

all species is equally important.

The ones that we overlook could have a big contribution in saving other species which are threatened or maybe they could also be actually in danger. From this class, I learn that we have so many things to do and how complex the situation is.

Soooo I know that many of you are more expert in this area (well, I am a layman in this topic hehe) and I would love to discuss about it more with you if you like 🙂 So anyway, feel free to connect with me!

Cheers,

Kemmy

Sources of materials that I used in this post can be found on the post itself (you can find and click the link right in the post).

(This post was written during Summer School of Sustainability at University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The summer school was taken while studying the M.Sc. “Environmental Management” at Christian-Albrechts Universität (CAU) in Kiel, Germany)

#16 5Cs: Ultimate vitamin Cs

Hey, you guys!

Wow I am on a rooooollll. I’ve been posting a looot. Wow.

Anywaaaaay, lets talk about #16 someone that I miss. Well, it’s hard to pick one person but let’s just choose my 5Cs. My ultimate vitamin Cs.

5Cs? What?

Not even a person. Well, not even one single entity. They are my masters cats. My adorable annoying 5 masters cats.

Well, I just want an opportunity to talk about my masters cats hahahha. Releasing my inner crazy cat lady…. NOW.

Lets describe them one by one because, heck they have such unique personalities. As I am just a humble servant, I will color their names according to their fur color.

Cheshire

This one is just a rascal. My brother calls him (ill) omen.

Charlotte

This round fur ball loves feet and very vocal when it comes to food and asking to be pet

Coca

Spoiled fur ball. My bad. Loves to cuddle with me, hates everyone else.

Cola

This timid momma boy cat is surprisingly very brave when it comes to wet food/snack.

Cherry

This sweet little girl is the smartest and I am pretty sure she judges other masters cats as her stupid subordinates.

I havent seen them for 1.5 years now and I miss them soooo muchhh. Last time I went home after 6 months living in Germany, Coca was very upset and didnt even want me around her for one day only though hahah. The next day she came into my room. Well. Nagging, of course. Cheshire and Charlotte were the sweetest because they greeted me home. Cola and Cherry also avoided me that night I arrived but all solved with snack.

Cheers,

Kemmy

VISTA #14: Little things

Hey you guys!

It’s been a very very long time since I post VISTA here! So I want to post something related to my birthday.

Well, my birthday was on June but I wanna share something that I find really important. My close friend kept asking me what I want for my birthday. Months away from my birthday. As someone who rarely has desire or wish in anything really, I was really confused what to say. I kept telling him nothing but he kept asking me what I want. So I told him, “well, I’ll let you know if I suddenly want something.”

In the end, I didnt want anything.

I rarely want a physical thing to have. I dont buy new gadgets often but I usually just wait for my brother to give me his old phone. But I always find time is the most valuable thing that someone can give me. Well, my love language (in terms of receiving) is quality time (followed by act of service and physical touch in number 2). So, I asked my friend to give him his time for me. I want him to be with me the whole day.

Simple isnt it? But very expensive. Can you imagine what can you do for 24h? A lot. And I asked him to give me his time, wow my present was super expensive.

He was confused and said that it’s what we usually do at least every week.

There’s nothing special in it. I always hang out with you especially during the weekend.

Well yea, but for me it’s what makes it so special. I always appreciate his effort to spend time with me every week. For me, that’s a lot already.

So what did we do on my birthday?

The usual. Just hang out, watching movie and have lunch really. Well the only difference was that I bought something from my favorite restaurant and ate it at home with him.

So yea, I pamper myself a lot during my birthday with friend companionship and take away food.

Oh and of course, video call with my parents and brother! We did this small celebration with donut as my cake and I blew the candles during the call. I felt so happy and blessed.

Well, happy birthday to me!

Cheers,

Kemmy